Many trade experts feel that this Diwali’s big release Laxmmi(earlier entitled Laxmmi Bomb) has all the qualities of a blockbuster including the presence of Akshay Kumar. Sadly it’s been earmarked for release on the OTT platform when it could’ve been the ideal vehicle to turn around the doddering fortunes of theatre exhibition.
Apparently last-minute talks are on to release Laxmmi in selected movie theatres.
Says trade analyst Girish Johar, “Ideally all big films should be a theatrical release but since cinemas are not open pan-India with certain states not lifting the embargo, the makers could have either waited but instead they chose to release their film on OTT. This Diwali 2020 will be a damp squib at the BO and major releases will be on OTTplatforms.”
Johar feels the theatre exhibitors are sitting on a high horse. “The cinemas are sticking to their stand of being the premium and front most option for cinema consumption and they don’t want to share their position with any one else. Earlier VCR, DVD then Satellite & now OTT have threatened their position several times but cinema screens across the globe have fought for their space and kept it intact,So releasing Laxmii on Theatrical & OTT, the so called HYBRID MODEL does not suit the Indian palate, unlike countries in Europe and elsewhere. Hence its not possible to have shared OTT-theatre release in India.”
Trade analyst Atul Mohan is all for a shared release. “Laxmmi should have released in both the mediums. The makers should have planned a balanced release between both. The multiplexes wouldn’t have participated in the party but some selected single screens from selected towns could have been picked for its release. Not a wide release but a decent release. Films like Laxmmi coming in theatres is very important for the film industry and to uplift the mood of the trade.”
Movie exhibitor Akshaye Rathi feels it is impractical to have a shared release. “A lot of moving parts in the equation. It’s a call that the Laxmmi producer Disney-Hotstar needs to take first. Post that, the commercial terms of engagement need to be discussed with all exhibitors. It’s a long-drawn process.”